The Desiro ML Cityjet eco, manufactured by Siemens Mobility for ÖBB, has obtained the homologation and starting September 2, the prototype battery train will enter traffic in Lower Austria, on country’s non-electrified tracks.
The EMU was presented in August 24, by Klaus Garstenauer, ÖBB head of Local and Regional Transport, and Lower State Mobility Councilor, Ludwig Schleritzko.
The train will be deployed on Kamptalbahn route. between St. Pölten and Horn, on the Traisentalbahn & Kremser Bahn, on the St. Pölten – Hainfeld and St. Pölten – Krems routes and on Erlauftalbahn, between Pöchlarn and Scheibbs.
“With the Cityjet eco, ÖBB is putting the first prototype of a new generation of battery-powered multiple-unit trains on the track. Lower Austria is the federal state with the most non-electrified routes, so I am very pleased that the train is celebrating its premiere in passenger service in our region,” Klaus Garstenauer said.
The Desiro ML Cityjet eco train is part of ÖBB’s “Update Fleet Strategy 2035” for which, the two companies intend to design, build, and experimentally operate a battery-powered train as part of an innovative partnership.
Ongoing serial production of the ÖBB Cityjet provides an opportunity to take a vehicle, convert it to a battery-powered multiple unit, and use it as a prototype train during a trial period, all in a short period of time. This makes it possible to reduce the usual delivery and production times for a new vehicle by more than half. In battery mode, the train will be able to run at speeds of 120 km/h, providing a capacity of 244 seats. The construction of the train’s interior creates a spacious ambience, coupled with comfort and safety, timeless color schemes and folding tables
The goal of this prototype project is to gain experience in operating alter-native drive types under all operating conditions (summer/winter operation). For this purpose, a series-production trainset will be provided from current production that will be converted and subsequently tested in regular operation as a battery-powered vehicle.
“Our research results have shown that an electro-hybrid battery drive is the best technology for the mixed use of trains on Austrian routes. I am delighted that we are implementing this innovation together with ÖBB,” Christian Schomer, CFO Siemens Mobility Austria said.
In 2018, the two companies unveiled the Desiro ML Cityjet eco prototype which would allow to switch from diesel traction to eco-friendly operations, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50%.
The behavior of the electro-hybrid train in railway operations is part of the test programme which will determine the availability of such trains on ÖBB network. Under the project, potential sites for charging stations will be identified to offer an alternative to diesel traction.
ÖBB has announced that intends to implement projects and solutions to reach a 100% green traction energy and, by 2050 aims to become a CO2-neutral operator.